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December 13, 2013

Paulsen Named C-1 Player of Year

The way the 2012 season ended, with an embarrassing shutout home loss to arch rival Gothenburg, was a disaster for Cozad football. Think Hindenburg, 1937 - oh, the humanity.

Putting that flameout behind them the Cozad Haymakers roared to 13 straight wins and the Class C-1 state championship in 2013. Wheel man for the triumphant return was sensational senior running back Jake Paulsen, Huskerland Prep Report's C-1 Player of the Year.

It isn't like all of a sudden Paulsen could play the game in 2013. He'd been among the top ten rushers in C-1 the past two seasons but this year took things to a whole new level, rushing for a whopping 2,534 yards - that's 195 yards per game, boys and girls - and 29 touchdowns. He only caught eight passes all season but turned four of them into touchdowns. Back in the day (listen to me go on...the kid's still only 17, 18 years old for goodness sake) he was a great kick returner too.

Cozad head coach Brian Cargill knows a good thing when he sees it, and he leaned heavily upon Paulsen for big play production during the Haymakers' championship run.

"Jake obviously has great speed and vision, and one thing he really developed this season were his anticipation skills in terms of where holes would open up and how plays would develop. He was a more patient runner and a more physical runner than he had been in the past," says Coach Cargill. As for being physical, Paulsen was a really good back at 140 pounds when he was a sophomore; at 175 pounds as a senior he was lethal. "I felt like he was a complete back in terms of running and catching the ball this year."

Praising his increased leadership in 2013 - "the old adage is with great talent comes great responsibility" - Paulsen was a major factor in all 13 Cozad wins, says Coach Cargill.

"We was consistently outstanding all season but it also seemed like the bigger the game the better his performance. It doesn't get much better than that."

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